Welcome to Framed, a column at Cinematical that runs every Thursday and celebrates the artistry of cinema -- one frame at a time.
A Depression-era mob enforcer and his son are on the run. The boy witnessed a brutal killing carried out by his father and his partner, and now a hit has been put out on their lives. While the two flee for safety, they simultaneously seek revenge for the slaying of their family and begin to acclimate to the nuances of their own distant relationship.
Watching Sam Mendes' 2002 Academy Award-winning film, 'Road to Perdition,' on Blu-ray reminds me why this technology was invented. Cinematographer Conrad L. Hall's compositions are stunningly brought to life and the movie's Super 35 format translates an authentic filmic grain. Hall's work is technically precise -- loaded with details that are illuminated by the most basic of elements: light, shadow, skin tone, atmosphere.
And what is it about that rain that never seems to end? Next to Hall's muted, minimal palette -- which adds a coldness and sorrowful dimension to the movie -- the rain is unrelenting and violent. Mendes has stated that the theme of water speaks to the "uncontrollability of fate" and that "the soul of the movie is expressed in the exteriors." If the soul hangs along the outside, then the mind is revealed in Hall's interior spaces. 'Road to Perdition's' sets were built inside the mammoth Chicago Armory, giving the cinematographer complete control over the elaborately constructed lighting. The correlation between houses -- places of identity -- and the mind is something people often talk about regarding dreams. Given 'Perdition's' mythic leanings and graphic novel origin it seems only fitting to view these spaces in such a light.